Opening Night of Lady Antebellum World Tour Brings Horns, Throwbacks and Good Vibes

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There are certain artists who just make it really easy to talk about. For me, Lady Antebellum falls under that category. They’re simply just good people. Tonight, the country group kicked off their “You Look Good” World Tour in my hometown, Bakersfield, Calif., at the Rabobank Arena.

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I’ve seen the group a few times live, and I think this just might be my favorite. The trio had taken some time off to each work on their own projects, but they came back better than ever. The energy was unreal, thanks to the help of their new “horns” section, which added a more bluesy flavor to some of their older hits, like “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “Lookin’ For A Good Time” and more. Other songs, included, “Just A Kiss,”  “Need You Now,” “American Honey,” “Compass,” and “Downtown.” As most artists do when considering the set list, they didn’t forget the crowd pleasers that everyone knows and loves. In fact, there were many moments in the show that made it feel like a giant karaoke party/sing-a-long with Lady A. They didn’t forget their new material for the latest album, though, coming out June 9, such as “Good Time To Be Alive” and the album’s namesake, “Heart Break,” – It just happens to be my favorite song of the moment.

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Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave also threw in quite a few throwbacks to classic country music, like Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One,” and Brett Young joined Kelley for a cover of Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That.” Scott and Ballerini came out for a fun, girl empowerment song with Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.”

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Lady Antebellum has proved they can do just about anything when it comes to their sound, but they’re at their best when it’s the three of them around the piano. Their hearts are pure and it rings out in their voices. It made for a more intimate moment when Kelley mentioned that Scott had to sing her own single “Thy Will,” that she recorded with her family and went into a shortened version of  “Hello World.” That was a real treat. Scott’s album was such a healing tool for me over this past year, and to be able to hear it alive was incredible. Kelley dedicated that portion of the show to the Manchester victims from the Ariana Grande concert. “This should be a safe place,” Scott added in regards to the situation.

The last half of the concert, they kicked up the jams to nonstop hits and had everyone on their feet. The trio came back for an encore with Phil Collins’ “I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight,” which Charles took the lead on and then led into the band’s own “Bartender.”

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This is a group that just makes you feel good. I was smiling and laughing the entire time . Just being and living in the energy of the moment was a beautiful thing.

Brett Young and Kelsea Ballerini started the evening off, both making a name for themselves in country music. Young didn’t sing long, but made sure to cover his radio hits, including “In Case You Didn’t Know” and “Sleep Without You,” which just went gold. He charmed and energized the crowd like a pro, and had the ladies swooning all around.

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While Ballerini is breaking records and setting new trends in country music, it’s easy to see that she has taken a few notes from Taylor Swift’s handbook. I know people don’t always appreciate the comparison, but it’s working for her, and she’s still putting her own spin on things, which I commend her for. The newly-engaged singer sang “Peter Pan,” “Yeah Boy,” “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Dibs.” She was also excited about the opportunity of singing new music for her album to come out later this year, which fans already know, such as “High School,” “Roses,” “I Hate Love Songs,” “Unapologetically” and “Legends.” Her fiancé, Morgan, also made an appearance on the screens during one of the songs, where she very candidly opens up about how people are going to say the relationship won’t last or how it all happened too fast, but it’s the real thing. And who can forget about Dibs the Dog? Ballerini is the southern version of Tinkerbell; sassy and cute with a lot of sparkles, who lights up the stage. She has a long career ahead of her, for sure.

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There are many artists I admire – Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have been two of my very favorites over the years. But, as I sat in the arena listening to so many songs from over the past seven or so years of my life, specific memories came to mind. The songs themselves have marked moments in time for me, probably more than anyone else.

I’ll never forget tonight or the beautiful souls that make up Lady Antebellum. This was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to – Can’t wait to see them again soon. Now, I’m counting down the days until June 9, when we’ll finally have new music from the group! YAY!

Until next time,

Shelby

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